Auchenstroan Coloured Ryelands

We are Adrian and Nicole Doyle and this is our web site where we show our life on our small holding and showcase the products that we sell.

We are delighted to offer a range of handmade felted fleece rugs, also known as “vegetarian sheepskin rugs”, and handmade felted fleece cushions.  These are made from the wool (not the sheepskin) from our own sheep and no animal is harmed in the process.  You can buy them from our shop, please have a look.

We have also just published Adrian’s book on smallholding life which you can buy in our shop (paperback – UK only) or via Amazon (paperback and ebook).

Latest Stories from Auchenstroan

Taking Back Control

Last year's veggie growing didn't go well.  What with constant rain, little sun and an army of slugs and snails, we did not get much of a harvest. This year,

Ymogen coloured ryeland

Clever Sheep

Hi there, it’s me Ymogen! It’s been a while since I logged on but recently my pet human took a short video of me demonstrating my intelligence so I thought

water tank in place

New rainwater harvesting system installed

As well as making sure we have enough water for our animals, we also need water for our vegetables.  This year, we have had to water seedlings and pots every

The Adventures of the Yogi Rug

Recently a lovely lady in faraway Georgia, USA bought “the Yogi rug” from our online shop.  I was excited because it’s always a bit extra special when a person from

compost bin

Compost Shuffle

Part of the sustainable living ethos is re-using stuff.  We generate a lot of garden waste and this all goes into a large compost bin.  Of course, over time, it

sheep having a drink

New trough welcome in hot weather

Despite living in what is generally considered to be a wet part of Britain, we do have prolonged dry spells.  In fact, for the last 3 years, there have weeks

cuckoo maran egg

Bim Lays an Egg

Since June last year, Bim has been suffering from egg peritonitis, a common condition in hens of all ages for which the prognosis is usually death.  Last year, we managed

hoggy coming out of feeder

Hoggy out and about

Last November, I found a tiny hedgehog wandering around the garden.  It was too small (less than 300g) to survive the winter, so we took it in (see hedgehog seeks

coppicing

Coppicing Time

We have quite a large area of willow woodland which spans either side of one of the burns that run through our smallholding.  One of the spring jobs is to

duck house

Duck House installed

In our smallholding here, we have a small loch which attracts ducks, herons and other water birds including geese and even occasionally, a cormorant.  We also have a duck house

hedgehog released back into the wild

Hoggy Released

Last November, I found a tiny hedgehog wandering around the garden.  At less than 300g, she would never have survived the winter.  We took her in and she has overwintered

Water system extended

Once a year, we borrow some cows from a neighbouring farm.  We do these because they are good for the pasture.  They eat out the long grass making it accessible

Reviews

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Review for Handmade Felted Fleece Rug
5/5
Nicole's Rug in Luxembourg 🙂

I was looking for an ethical “sheep skin” rug and happily found Nicole and Adrian’s website. Nicole chose for us a beautiful fleece from her sheep which went into the production of our first rug. My family loves it, including the little touches that came with our package too. Nicole and Adrian are wonderful and they put love and care into everything they do. Thank you for this very special rug, we will cherish for many years to come!

Review for Felted Fleece Cushion
5/5
Beautiful Cushion

I had been looking for a felted sheepskin cushion to go in a little reading nook I’ve set up. I saw a few online but the Auchenstroan cushions looked the best of what I saw. The cushion is indeed lovely, warm and cuddly, well made and has a wonderful scent of cedarwood.

Review for This Smallholding Life - Book
5/5
Honest and Practical

Full of facts and figures, this book is what you need if you are seriously considering setting up a smallholding. Adrian doesn’t hold back with the reality of both the financial and emotional investment you will need to be a smallholder. It is refreshing to read about the mistakes made and occasional animal lost. I highly recommend this book.

Review for This Smallholding Life - Book
5/5
A refreshing read, different from other smallholder books

I really enjoyed this book because it mixes it real life anecdotes with information useful for someone thinking about moving to a smallholding. It is therefore very engaging and not “just another book about how to live off the land”. I found it also to be a very honest book in as far as it might even put someone off taking the leap into the smallholder life! It basically spells out that unless you have another job of some sort you are not going to make ends meet no matter how many eggs you intend to sell by the side of the road. I liked this approach because it encourages you to think very carefully before throwing yourself into investing in pigs, sheep, cows or whatever you have in mind. Personally I had absolutely no idea sheep were such hard work and for so little return! My eyes have really been opened, next time I drive along a road and see a field of sheep and lambs I will spare a thought for the farmers and shepherds working away behind the scenes for ridiculously long hours in all kinds of weather. I found the tables on “how much profit can be made” on each animal very illuminating. Also the charts on what each animal needs. It is certainly food for thought because I now know that the smallholder life is not by any means a cheap and cheerful life, it is quite an expensive life, especially at the beginning with all the infrastructure needing putting in place and investment in livestock. I can now see why many smallholders run courses or sell high value or unusual items, just to make their animals pay for their hay, let alone turn a profit. I would absolutely still consider the smallholder life, it has been a dream of mine for a very long time, but after reading this book I will now be thinking about ways to balance a part time job with running a smallholding as opposed to simply living off the land.

Review for This Smallholding Life - Book
5/5
Review of This Smallholding Life - Book

Good mix of facts and figures and real stories that can bring a tear to your eye or make you laugh out loud. I strongly recommend it

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